Julia Roberts on That Time She Got Dragged On Instagram for “Not Aging Well”

by Charles Manning

Julia Roberts turns 51 later this month and is as busy as ever, promoting two new projects — Amazon’s Homecoming and Ben Is Back — and looking damn good on the cover of Harper’s Bazaar‘s November issue.

(Alexi Lubomirski)

In the accompanying interview‚ conducted by none other than Oprah Winfrey, Roberts opens up about her family life — she and her husband of 16 years, Danny Moder, are doing great, by the way, despite what the tabloids might say — social media, and the difficulties of aging in the spotlight.

Roberts joined Instagram this summer after her kids encouraged her, but has found it to be something of a mixed bag. “It’s definitely a balancing act, and it’s been tricky figuring out what to post because I am private, but I am also friendly,” she told Winfrey. “Although something did happen recently on my niece Emma [Roberts]’s Instagram that I think taught me a lot about what it’s like being a young person in today’s society. One weekend morning Emma slept over, and we got up and were having tea and playing cards and having this beautiful morning, and then a couple of days later she posted a picture of us. And the number of people who felt absolutely required to talk about how terrible I looked in the picture—that I’m not aging well, that I look like a man, why would she even post a picture like this when I look that terrible!

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Card games with Aunt Julia ❤️ @juliaroberts

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“I was amazed at how that made me feel. I’m a 50-year-old woman and I know who I am, and still my feelings got hurt. I was sad that people couldn’t see the point of it, the sweetness of it, the absolute shining joy of that photo. I thought, “What if I was 15?””

Not that Roberts is letting the internet’s legions of nasty trolls keep her down. “I would say that my 50s are off to a good start,” she told Winfrey. “Before my birthday last year, Danny goes, “What should we do for your 50th?” And I said, “How about this? We have five days away with zero contact with the outside world.” That was 50, and it was so beautiful and wonderful. It was just the two of us, and there was a point where I thought, “Gosh, this is kind of weird.” Not being all together with the kids, the five of us, for my birthday. I was kind of like, “Huh. Maybe I didn’t think this all the way through.” And on the day of my birthday, we drove to a city we’ve been before. I was like, “This is a great town. We’ll do some shopping. We’ll eat some good food. This is going to be great.” And the kids all had soccer games, and other parents had been texting me scores of games and stuff like that, so I knew when all their games were over that they’d call us and we’d talk to them on my birthday. We went into this surf shop, and I go to the bathroom in the back of the store, and I come out and Danny’s standing there holding a surfboard, and he goes, “What do you think of this one?” I said, “That’s a big board. What is that for?” He moves it, and all three kids are standing behind it. I could burst into tears thinking about it. They had tricked me so completely. There was no soccer game. Even these friends of ours who were texting me scores of games, everybody was in on it, and it was so incredible and beautiful. That’s what getting older is about—it’s about turning even more into the person your loved ones know you to be… That was turning 50 for me. It was pretty spectacular.”

(Alexi Lubomirski)

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